Charles Rocheleau(1913 - 2014)

Charles A. Rocheleau

CHARLES TOWN, WV - Commander Charles A. Rocheleau (U.S.N. Retired) passed away on January 2, 2014 at his home, Straithmore Farm in Charles Town, West Virginia, at the age of 100.

Born April 2, 1913 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Charlie was the sixth of eight children born to the late H. Oscar and Alma V. (Granger) Rocheleau. A graduate of Assumption Preparatory School and Assumption College in Worcester, he received a Master's degree from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

Charlie began his career in Washington, D.C., working at the National Archives. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 where, fluent in French, he was assigned to Naval Forces France, working with the U.S Army to free three ports from German occupation. He was next assigned to U.S. headquarters in Paris, and was appointed Assistant Naval Attache in 1944. With colleagues he reopened the U.S. Embassy in Paris at the end of the war.

In 1946, Charlie was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and assigned to the staff of the Commander of Naval Forces-Western Pacific in China. Subsequent assignments were in Vienna, Austria and Salzburg, Germany. Following the establishment of diplomatic relations with West Germany, in 1956 Charlie was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bonn as Assistant Naval Attache. In 1958 he went to Saigon, Vietnam to work with the South Vietnamese commanders. His final posting before retiring from the Navy in 1962 was at the Pentagon.

In 1960, Charlie purchased Straithmore Farm in Charles Town, West Virginia, where he settled after his retirement. Here he raised White-Faced Herefords until he was 90 years old, still planting trees on the farm in his last years.

Charlie loved people, art, and books, maintaining an active interest in politics and a close involvement in the lives of his family and friends. He was known for his sharp intellect, inquisitive mind, optimism, self-reliance, generosity, and love of history, genealogy, and learning. When asked for his advice on how to live to 100 at his birthday celebration in April, Charlie said, "Read a lot, eat dairy and drink good wine!"

Charlie was preceded in death by his brothers, sisters and their spouses: Alma Rocheleau, H. Louis Rocheleau, Sr. (Anne), Phoebe C. Rocheleau, J. Oscar Rocheleau, Lucille Senk (Henry), Louise Riseden, and Pierre Rocheleau. He was also predeceased by a nephew, H. Louis Rocheleau, Jr. and niece, Louanne Stockwell.

Charlie is survived by his sister-in-law, Anne Rocheleau (widow of J. Oscar) and thirteen nieces and nephews: Rosalie Grenon, Andree Belisle, Suzanne Rocheleau, Denise Nordberg, Jeanne Palermo, Phoebe Worcester, Joseph O. Rocheleau, Jr., David Rocheleau, Marie Anne Demers, Paul Rocheleau, Suzanne Bay, Claudette Riseden and Frank Riseden, as well as a host of great-nieces and great-nephews. They will all miss his keen interest and strong presence in their lives.

In accordance with Charlie's wishes, his body has been donated to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences after which his final remains will be interred alongside his parents and siblings at Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester. Expressions of sympathy or personal remembrances may be conveyed to the family at:

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, 2014